Dame Dora Wong with her portrait of the warrior hero Keshike Batu Luwuke Shier. Photograph by Caroline Tompkins

I bought it at Christie’s

Fashion designer Dame Dora Wong on an 18th-century portrait of a warrior painted for the Hall of Imperial Brilliance in Beijing

‘I have been collecting antique Chinese paintings since 1968, and was so excited when this came up at auction. It is what’s known as a bannerman scroll, one of a hundred painted for the Hall of Imperial Brilliance in Beijing. It depicts a royal bodyguard named Keshike Batu Luwuke Shier. He was a warrior hero; the inscription says that he was shot in the back and the bullet could not be removed.

‘I was a designer for my brand Pandora Fashion, and I like his uniform. The finial on his hat tells you that he is a guard of the third rank, and the peacock feather is a favour from the emperor Qianlong. I also like his face: he is a good-looking man.

‘The portrait appeared on the cover of a book. After that people went crazy for this painting and it was shown in various exhibitions’

‘The scroll is not signed, but I know who painted it because the curator at the Palace Museum, Nie Chongzheng, looked into the records and found that the face was painted by Ignatius Sichelbart, a Bohemian Jesuit artist who worked for the emperor, while a Chinese court painter named Jin Tingbiao painted the rest. No one knew that until I asked Mr Nie to do some research for me.

‘The portrait appeared on the cover of a book, The Manchu Way  by Mark Elliott. After that, people went crazy for this painting and it was shown in various exhibitions. I enjoy lending my pieces to museums — it makes me very happy. The Freer-Sackler Gallery, the Norton Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum have all borrowed works from my collection.

Sign up today

Christie’s Online Magazine delivers our best features, videos, and auction news to your inbox every week

Subscribe

‘I look at the treasures I have at home every day; they are like my family. Some of my friends have no hobbies and I tell them: learn about art, you’ll never get bored.’